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‘It’s disappointing’ – Pádraig Harrington agonisingly misses out on Tour Championship place

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Pádraig Harrington on the eighth tee during the final round of The AVIV Dubai Championship at Fire Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Pádraig Harrington on the eighth tee during the final round of The AVIV Dubai Championship at Fire Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Pádraig Harrington on the eighth tee during the final round of The AVIV Dubai Championship at Fire Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Pádraig Harrington agonisingly missed out on a place in next week’s DP World Tour Championship by just 9.2 Race to Dubai Points after Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond drained a 45-footer for eagle on the 18th in the AVIV Dubai Championship.

The Dubliner bunkered his approach to the 18th but splashed out to 18 feet and then made the birdie putt to briefly move up to tied fifth on 19-under.

His bogey-free 67 propelled him provisionally from 56th to 53rd in the Race to Dubai with the top 54 set to play the final event following a series of withdrawals.

But his hopes of playing in the season-ending event for the first time since 2016 were dashed minutes later when Janewattananond’s eagle relegated him to a five-way tie for eighth, four strokes behind winner Joachim B Hansen of Denmark.

As a result, Harrington (50) fell one spot overall from 56th to 57th in the Race to Dubai.

“The putt on the last gave me great comfort because I really really struggled all day on the greens,” a disappointed Harrington explained.

“I was very tentative. I was really struggling. But the putt on the last, because I really had to hole it, I got into it and holed it.

“I wish I could hit all putts like that. I need that sort of pressure. Do or die makes it a lot easier, but it’s disappointing.

“When I finished and I was fifth, it looked like I maybe had a chance. But it was just a step too far.”

With 11th-ranked Will Zalatoris not counting towards the Race to Dubai as an affiliate member and world No 1 Jon Rahm, Norway’s Viktor Hovland, and England’s Justin Rose opting not to travel to Dubai for the final event, the top 54 in the season-long points list will tee it up on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates with Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry the only Irish qualifiers.

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However, Harrington will approach 2022 with high hopes, knowing what he must do to improve his mental game on the greens.

“What’s good as I could see where I am going wrong,” said Harrington, who will round off the season alongside son Paddy in the PNC Championship on the PGA Tour Champions in Orlando from December 17-19.

“The last couple of weeks have been an eye-opener. Even the Ryder Cup was an eye-opener. I could see in my own game what I need to do.

“I could see what’s lacking and I know how to fix it. Whether I do it or not is up to me.”

Clandeboye’s Jonathan Caldwell finished 94th in the Race to Dubai after a closing 68 left him tied 55th on the Fire Course on 11-under.

The Co Down man secured his maiden win at the Scandinavian Mixed in June, and he’s looking forward to starting the new season at the Joburg Open on the newly renamed DP World Tour from November 25 - 28.

“It will be nice being back in South Africa, but after Alfred Dunhill at Leopard Creek, I will be really looking forward to packing the clubs away before getting ready for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship,” who jets out to Cape Town on Monday.

“Hopefully, I can continue to play the way I played this week tee-to-green, and also get the putter going a bit and get off to a good start down in South Africa.”

Hansen went into the final round tied for the lead with Francesco Laporta on 19-under and closed with an impressive, bogey-free 68 to win his second European Tour title by a shot from the Italian (69) and Austrian Bernd Wiesberger (65) on 23-under.

The Dane birdied the first, seventh and 10th to take the lead, then two-putted from long range at the par-five 13th to remain in front before curling home a clutch five-footer for par at the 17th to keep his nose in front.

He then closed out his second European Tour victory in the space of 12 months with a par-five on the last, mixing 24 birdies and just one bogey in an impressive performance to move 42 places to 43rd in the Race to Dubai to secure his place in the DP World Tour Championship.

“It means a lot, especially with family and friends here this time,” said Hansen, who will move from 170th to 112th in the world.

“There was nothing in Joburg (where he won last November). So when I saw Jeff (Winther) win in Mallorca with family and friends, I was very jealous because I really wanted that. I am glad I got to experience that.”


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